What is algophobia?
Algophobia is an extreme fear of physical pain. While nobody wants to experience pain, people with this phobia have intense feelings of worry, panic or depression at the thought of pain. The anxiety of algophobia can also make you more sensitive to pain. It’s most common in people with chronic pain syndromes. Other names for this condition include “pain-related fear” and “pain anxiety.”
How common is algophobia?
Pain-related fear in people with chronic pain is common. One study suggests that half of people with low back pain have an elevated sense of fear about their pain. Chronic pain affects between 20% and 50% of people worldwide and is one of the most common reasons that people see a healthcare provider. About 67% of people with chronic pain also have a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression.
What causes algophobia?
Sudden fear and anxiety protect us from dangerous situations. If we see a bear, it’s natural to feel scared and want to escape. But people with chronic pain may develop ongoing fear and anxiety as protective measures. They avoid activities or situations that they think could cause more pain or make their pain worse. Unfortunately, exaggerating the threat of pain can actually make the pain worse.
The same chemicals in your brain that regulate fear and anxiety also regulate how you perceive pain. So chemical imbalances can trigger both problems. more